Stories tagged with Guatemala

Mar 3, 2009 GT Guatemala

It’s almost impossible to find a family in this little town of Nimasac (in the western highlands of Guatemala) who has not had a son or husband go to the U.S. to find work.

Boys often leave when they are teenagers (16 or so) and take the perilous route to the U.S. through Mexico, by enlisting the services of a “coyote” (immigrant smuggler)—which is a very risky proposition. If they do make it to the U.S. alive, they arrive in large cities (Houston and New York seem to be the favorites here) where they connect with acquaintances or friends who are already there. Many...

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Mar 3, 2009 GT Guatemala

Those of us who know and love the Kiva platform probably find ourselves giving the “what is Kiva” elevator pitch fairly often. “Kiva is an online platform…” or “Kiva is a microlending social community…” or whatever your go-to line may be. And we’ve most likely all seen eyes glaze over and watched our audience find a sudden fascination with their feet. But every once in a while you can tell that you’ve hooked them: “So I would get my money back?” “I can really lend $25?” And my favorite moment of those conversations: “What is the default rate?”

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Mar 3, 2009 GT Guatemala

I am not exactly sure how the “department” (like one of our states) of Totonicapan fared during the so called“civil war” in Guatemala during the 1980’s and 1990’s when it is estimated over 200,000 indigenous people were murdered by the government. Entire villages and all their inhabitants were destroyed during this time of genocide in Guatemala. (It is not a subject I have felt comfortable broaching……yet). BUT, I can tell you that this department seems fiercely independent, cohesive and not easily intimidated. In my two weeks here, I have become familiar with two examples of the...

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Feb 2, 2009 GT Guatemala

Many of my friends and family have been shocked, when I explained to them that microcredit loans often carry (what we would consider) usurious/oppressive interest rates. Many of them have asked me how ANYONE could justify interest rates of 30 or 50 or even 100%?

I have tried to explain all the factors that go into how a microfinance bank determines just how much interest it must charge in order to remain a viable business.

I go through the litany of factors contributing to the “high” interest rates—-the fact that it costs as much (or more) to make a $300 loan as it does...

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Feb 2, 2009 GT Guatemala

Well, what the guidebooks say is true: Guatemala City is no walk in the park. Yet, the largest city in Central America certainly has much to offer and I look forward to sharing my experiences over the next few months with you.

I hope you enjoy the video below that I created to introduce you to FAPE – the microfinance foundation I’ll be working with here in Guatemala City. A previous Kiva Fellow (Megan Montgomery) and the Kiva staff have built a strong partnership with FAPE and I’ve been received with open arms and a lot of food.

Here are a few facts about...

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Sep 9, 2008 GT Guatemala

As some of you might know there is the story about the Guatemalans being a bit scared of people taking their kids for illegal adoption; apparently there was once a Japanese tourist beaten to death when he (or she I don’t know) picked up a kid.

Myself I have had kids dropped in my lab to have them sitting there for a couple of hours during a bus ride where mama already...

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Aug 8, 2008 GT Guatemala
 

Two weeks ago FAPE launched a new program. After months of fighting bureaucracy, they finally got permission to give loans to female prisoners at the Centro Preventivo de Rehabilitación Santa Teresa (loosely translated, the Santa Teresa Prevention Center for Rehabilitation). The program was kicked off with a weeklong training called ISUN (Inicie su...

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Aug 8, 2008 GT Guatemala

As my fellowship continues to fly by, I’ve had many, many positive experiences, and really only one low point, which I’ll get to after reporting a little on my latest work. I’ve now been at FAPE for two weeks and it’s been fascinating to see the similarities and differences between the two organizations I’ve had the privilege of working with. FAPE is a much smaller organization than Friendship Bridge and FB has access to many...

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Aug 8, 2008 GT Guatemala

My First week in Guatemala and already very impressed! Don’t know where to start because it seems I am here already a while when counting the many adventures I already had!

My long flight from Europe through several US places brought me to Guatemala City in the evening. I was picked up from the airport by a very friendly man called Viktor who brought this exhausted woman to the hostel for me a lovely horizontal rest...

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Jul 7, 2008 GT Guatemala

My time at Friendship Bridge has come to an end and I’m off to Guatemala City to start the next phase of my fellowship with la Fundación de Asistencia para la Pequeña Empresa (FAPE).  Before I launch into my work at FAPE, I’ll attempt to reflect back on my time with Friendship Bridge a bit. 

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